Perry's weekend attention: Wanted or unwanted?
October 3rd, 2011
08:54 AM ET
3 years ago

Perry's weekend attention: Wanted or unwanted?

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry grabbed headlines throughout the weekend, putting the campaign on defense following a couple controversy-filled days for the Texas governor.

A front-page Washington Post story Sunday exposed the eyebrow raising name of a hunting camp leased and frequented by Perry and his father. "Niggerhead" was painted across a rock at the gated entrance of the property, according to the report. But Team Perry was quick to clarify the account, issuing a harsh statement early Sunday morning after CNN contacted the campaign.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele responded to TIME.

"A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible," Perry communications director Ray Sullivan said in a statement. "The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on the rock was painted over and obscured many years ago."

Sullivan said the governor's father, who the paper reported first leased the property in 1983, painted over the offensive language in the early 1980s. Sources quoted in the Post story said the word was visible until a few years ago.

The first reaction to the story from a Republican presidential candidate came from Herman Cain who appeared on two Sunday morning talk shows and called the property name "very insensitive."

On "Fox News Sunday," the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, who is African American, said there "isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."

Perry's camp shot back again, this time directly to the GOP rival.

"Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family's quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive," Sullivan said in a statement. "That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it."

While the ranch name consumed much of the Beltway chatter Sunday, it was Perry's comments about sending troops into Mexico to combat drug cartels that received the most attention Saturday.

"It may require our military in Mexico working in concert with them to kill these drug cartels and to keep them off of our border," Perry said after speaking at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Perry said the leaders of Mexico and the U.S. should meet after next year's elections to address the deadly drug trade in that country.

Campaign press secretary Robert Black said the border governor wanted to cooperate with the Mexican government and wasn't ruling anything out.

"He's going to work with the Mexican government to do what's necessary," Black said.

– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Also see:

Cain's busy week

Perry open to sending troops to Mexico against drug cartels

McCain cautions Christie


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Rick Perry
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Enough is Enough

    Perry when you send the troops to Mexico make sure they each one illegal under each arm and we can solve 2 problems at once. Oh I forgot your a hispanderor and want to give illegals taxpayers supported benfits for votes.

    Support for illegals = treason.

    October 3, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Nash

    What? Who is going to pay for another mini war in Mexico? In case this Governor has forgotten, he is supposed to be a social and fiscal conservative. With this kind of talk, it isn't hard to tell the deficit reduction nonsense by the GOP is all lip service to get them back in power.

    October 3, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  3. josh rogen

    just goes to show how desperate are the democrats this time round

    October 3, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Is the War on Drugs still going on?

    October 3, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. jnpa

    Everything the GOP says is lip service just to get them back in power.

    October 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  6. BillE

    Once again he shows us just who he and the GOP really are.

    October 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. Larry L

    Having spent a good portion of my life aroung the Texas oil business I can assure you the "N-word" has always been used with frequency and indifference. It still is – especially when the type of good-ole-boys Rick Perry courts get together and revert back to thier redneck roots. This sort of language is dirt common when the liquor is flowing and the guys feel secure in their surroundings – like at a deer hunting camp. Just take a look at the Texas businesses supporting Rick Perry and try to find African Americans anywhere near the executive-level. Good luck. Perry's views were burned into his soul when his character was formed and he will forever be a old-fashioned Texas bigot. Still, most Republicans expect that in a candidate and few of their voting base would reject a person for racist beliefs. They wouldn't have many choices left...

    October 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. hecep

    Interesting photo: He looks like a third-rate lounge singer trying to make a comeback at a retirement home.

    October 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. barbara

    Send troops to Mexico? And we're concerned about our boys getting beheaded in Iraq or Aphganastan? The drug cartels are heavily armed with weapons that would even be a match for the military. These drug gangs think NOTHING of torturing and beheading anyone who opposes them. How about securing the border first? We send troops to Mexico, every American living there better leave. The retaliation will be endless. Forget about vacationing there. No area will be safe. Sometimes I think Perry is grasping at an agenda that will fire up America people to rally behind him. So far this hasn't happened.

    October 3, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Scott S.

    I'm just surprised that he wants to search for an actual solution in Mexico instead of praying the problem away.

    October 3, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Jane Doe

    Rick Perry is a dummy. Why would anyone vote for him for President of the United States. Especially since we all know from past experience of elected George 'w' Bush (another dummy) how devastating that can be to America. I'm going to start a PAC called Don't Elect a Dummy. The money raised will go to any candidate who can pass a polygraph relating to moral character, and who has a genius-level IQ.

    October 3, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. BD70

    Legalize the drugs. Those who are doing them illegally will still do them either way. It's a lost battle and cost too much to continue. Not to mention the monetary cost but the lives that would be lost is not worth it.

    October 3, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. mtfrommd

    So, this guy has enough money for a private airstrip to fly people into his leisure camp, but doesn't think to spend a few bucks to break up or bury the rock. He just whitewashed it? literally? I mean, grab a backhoe and bury it. If you are in government, it's just stupid not to. And wait a minute. Now we are going to war with Mexico? Seriously? Please conservative Republicans, quit sending us into war when a diplomatic or economic strategy could work...

    October 3, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. Ohio man

    He needs to send the troops to help out those sorry Cowboys .. lol..

    October 3, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. Thecentrist11

    Being from Texas and knowing the situation, I really admire Perry for his minority-relations. I think that having funding for the education (not full) of children of illegal immigrants is really important for pulling them out of poverty and cycles of crime. It's costing us one way or another (jail or school), and they will be residents of TX no matter what.

    October 3, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. pd123

    I think we really need to take a look at how this country gets its citizens to run for office. I swear, it’s getting worse every cycle. This country is in real trouble and look at what the GOP has running. A couple of them are possibility ok but this nut case is right up there with Palin.

    October 3, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Carlton

    This is exactly why most who are considered or classified in a minority class don't support or welcome the GOP (Good Ole' Boy Party). Too many examples and too much evidence of what many of the GOP are all about, white people only!!!

    October 3, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. nshee

    This seems like a double-edged sword. On one hand he wants to give incentives for those who are illegal in Texas, with his tuition-helper, but then at the same time he wants to start a war against Mexico to stop those coming into the United States. If those in Mexico didn't already feel like the United States was trying to take advantage of them, guess how they'll feel when our troops are in their country. This is a call to war if I'm not mistaken. You can't have it both ways Mr. Perry. Either decide to secure the border and get rid of incentives to cross it, or flat out tell us you want a war with Mexico. Don't we love the candidates from Texas-war, war, war.

    October 3, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. LifeLongTexan

    We must never forget that the "fiscal conservatives" only apply their principles to social programs that benefit the poor, and taxes they dodge by way of abusive shelters. Unfortunately too many of today's voters are uneducated and refuse to go anywhere near a history book. If they would actually look at the facts they would see how much the GOP spent on the following:

    1. 11 new government agencies to fight the war on terror
    2. 250,000 governemnt jobs created
    3. 2 wars at a cost of $1 trillion and counting
    4. unfunded tax cuts and IRS stimmulus packages
    5. TARP (which was also unfunded)
    6. Medicare Part D (unfunded)

    These are great examples of fiscal conservatism at work.

    October 3, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  20. Sphy

    Perry's bubble has burst and the GOP is moving on to it's newest flavor of the month!

    October 3, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. Lean6

    This thing is just bizarre. What is it with bigots? It's like they have no common sense or morality whatsoever. Most people grow beyond youthful ignorance never having to answer for their immature ways of thinking because they still had some measure of common sense and decency (what today's ignorant people attack as political correctness)...or at least a measure of self-preservation that kept them from expressing their air of entitlement and privilege. Yes, I think this kind of stuff is very indicative of a person's character; I don't care how "old news" the calendar says it was.

    October 3, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. concerned citizen

    Great, another dumb idea for a dumb audience by a clueless trigger happy junkie. Great idea Gov.Perry, give the cartels a reason to unite.

    October 3, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Linda

    Grammatically– my bad!

    October 3, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. Jeffery Powell

    There's only one candidate for president who has promised to stop America's unconstitutional wars. . . He's the one Rick Perry fears. . .

    October 3, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. Ohboy

    If the rock was painted over years ago, no one would know, but he was a democrat in the 80's so it's all the left's fault right, banjo country?

    October 3, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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